Shrine to English martyrs faces financial challenge
London's shrine to the Catholic martyrs of the Reformation faces closure unless it can raise $A1.042 million to pay for lifts and ramps for disabled visitors.
Catholic World News reports that the Benedictine nuns of Tyburn Convent in central London must provide elevators and ramps to the shrine in their crypt before additions to the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act come into force on 1 October.
The crypt at the convent-- which is close to the site of numerous public executions-- contains the relics of 105 Catholic martyrs executed at Tyburn field under Reformation laws between 1535 and 1681. The crypt is open for daily public tours but is inaccessible for disabled visitors.
Under the revised Act, all buildings that provide "goods, facilities, or services" to the public must have the same "access, use, and exit" for the disabled as the able-bodied. Any business or organization failing in its responsibilities could face prosecution.
Prioress Mother Simeon is heading the efforts to raise funds to comply with the disability access law.
She told the Sunday Telegraph: "It's an awful lot of money but we've got to find ways of raising it. The changes will make the crypt slightly larger and affect the wall with the reliquaries, which we will have to rearrange."
Shrine to English martyrs faces steep financial burden (Catholic World News 28/6/04)
Nuns must find £400,000 for disabled access or close shrine at Tyburn (Daily Telegraph 27/6/04)
Executions at Tyburn
Hidden London : Tyburn nuns (BBC)
29 Jun 2004